A guide to take you by the hand

This blog covers the events before, during and after the death of our boys.  The hope is that it will offer comfort by allowing readers to see what it all involved and may also help to give an idea of what to expect in the aftermath of a loss.

Rather than posting piecemeal this blog starts with lots of scatter gun posts about the different aspects.  To help provide some order to this chaos this page sets out a map of the different bits so that you can look at the part that may be relevant to you or of the most interest.

IAN CURTIS OF JOY DIVISION

It also helps decipher some of the musical quote based titles.

Before the loss

“Wake up babies” – When it all went so horribly, terribly wrong

During the loss

The kindness of strangers – The support from the anonymous when I couldn’t speak to my friends and family

The day the whole world went away – The day our sons were stillborn

After the loss

In the best possible way, I hope I never see you again – The unsung hero of the day

The ballad of customer service – Dealing with difficult customers isn’t just about the angry ones.  Special care is needed for the bereaved.

Compare the funeral director – Shopping for a funeral and two contrasting experiences

Going to your funeral – The day itself

“We fill the void with flowers” – A short rant on the value of flowers to the bereaved and the expectations of the giver

“I don’t mind the horrors that surround me” – Finding unlikely comfort from horror in horrible things

Returning to work – A Ronseal post

Imagine – A post on the unintentional hurt of using twins as a punchline.

Pregnancy following stillbirth

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns – Where the medical profession needs to improve its level of care and compassion.

Grief and memory

Grief

“Don’t Tell Me” – When grief poetry goes wrong

That’s what [grief] is to me – Trying to describe the indescribable

It’s different now – Normal service is resumed and a look through life through grief’s prism

Ashes and ghosts – Thinking about how to teach our children about the boys and grief.

Imagine if it were twins – On twins being a punchline

Something better – Challenging the philosophy and complications of understanding faith when you have none.

Trigger Warnings – The words, phrases and moments that take you back to the past in a heartbeat.

Boys don’t cry – Fatherhood and grief – The limits we apply to ourselves and others and how harmful that can be to ourselves and to those we love

This door is locked – The questions and possibilities I can’t consider.

Guest Post: Ana – The bewildering benefits of loss – The bits we don’t talk about.

Guest Post: Ana – The Right Way to Grieve – Finding a way that works

Werewolves, whirlpools and the first rule of Grief Club – A follow up to Ana’s guest post

Guest Post: Ana – Opposing Forces

Dolls, snowflakes and badges: The third rule of Grief Club

The Wood within the Sands – Finding support from the Sands forum and solace amongst kindred spirits.

[This is not] A Eulogy – A post collecting fragments of memories of my father

Why I hate October – Too many deaths, too many anniversaries

#BabyLossAwarenessWeek

BabyLossAwarenessWeek – A semi-rant about how we need more than awareness, we need action

Awareness to Action – A post about how to do that and what progress has been made

Tommy’s – Richard from Shoebox of Memories writes about a father’s experience of baby loss

Stigma, silence and #misCOURAGE – A post illustrating why people keep silent and the people that silence them

Ashes to Ashes: The baby ashes scandal – A rage inducing post of callousness, cruelty and what happens when you buy into myths about health & safety without challenging them.

Capture Your Grief 2016

#CaptureYourGrief 2016 – Collects all my individual posts responding to the daily prompts.

Guest Posts – Ana

What, me worry?

One Year In

The disconnection within

Opposing forces

The bewildering benefits of grief

Memory

“You’re not mourning the lives they never had” – On the lives they did live and all that could have been

“We went to Brighton. It was shut” – Remembering the boys and the need to be kind and not worry about perfection

Cradle of forest – Planting a tree in memory of the boys

So this is Christmas and what have you done? – Looking to Christmas future through Christmas past

Oh… – When I try and think of the past, the future intrudes and becomes inseparable

Fundraising

5 for 5 Challenge – An introduction to the challenge to raise money for Sands / Tommy’s and my own contribution

#5for5Challenge: Update and thank you – Achievement unlocked!

#SandsAwarenessMonth

#SandsAwarenessMonth: What Sands means to me – The help that Sands has given to me and others and why Sands matters.

#SandsAwarenessMonth: What have we done – All the activity going on during the fundraising and awareness raising work of Sands and its supporters

Counselling and support

I repent, I’m sorry, everything is falling apart – When it all gets a bit much, the value of a helpline

Acceptance – A wander through the terrain of grief

Jab another pin in me – A trip to the past to understand why I struggle with unresolved grief

Simple question, rambling answer – A meandering musical post in response to the simple question ‘do you have a lot of fun?’

What happened after #TimeToTalk – The final counselling session and what it has meant to me

Coffee and revelations – A rambling coffee fuelled conversation reveals hidden insight

Happy posts

Thanksgiving – A break from the gloom to thank all those that help and those that tried

Happy, happy, joy, joy – Another rare happy post looking at all the positive things that happened during the week.

Happy blog for (un)happy people – A post Christmas / New Year happy post of music, games, fish and coffee

Blogging

When the words you use don’t work or fit – A post on the messy business of writing a personal blog

Shattered Memories – On being an unreliable narrator and trying to clarify my own memories

Should I start writing all this down? – Considering the consequences of personal blogging and all the dark places it takes us

We do what we do to fill the empty space – A follow up to ‘Should I…‘ on the value of personal blogging and the way pain can be channelled into a force for good.

Pinterest: Neat, Manageable Piles – A new home for the links, resources and articles.

Bloggers spotlight bloggers – Recommendations of the first five blogs that caught my attention.  Inspired by @OneDizzyBee – Please let her know your own!

Reflections on a short time in blogging  – A Ronseal post.  Full of shout outs to all those that helped me along the way.

The act of creation saves us from despair – My 50th post and building on the above a chance to reflect on the blog, its purpose and how it came to be and change to what it is now

Raising a glass to The Glass House Girls – A tribute to the site and people that started the fire (links to my guest post for them)

#LiebsterAward: 11 Questions – My answers to @TigerMothGirl’s Liebster Award nomination and my own 11 questions for anyone that wants to answer them

Brilliance in Blogging: Thank you for your consideration – A rare attempt at self promotion

Best blogs of the week

This week’s best blogs – 1 April 2016

Best blogs of the week – 8 April

Best blogs of the week – 15 April 2016

NHS Maternity Review

NHS Maternity Review – Our say – Summary of the points raised at the Sands facilitated session for bereaved parents.

Dads in maternity care – The roles and responsibilities of fathers to be and health care professionals

#MatExp

#MatExp – #MatExpHour Chat on Stillbirth

#policingpregnancy conference

#endstillbirths

#endstillbirths: Summary of the summary – Lay person version summarising main points from The Lancet / International Stillbirth Alliance research series

#endstillbirths – links to the research papers

#endstillbirths: The around stillbirths is unspeakable – A short post on The Lancet’s campaign.

#endstillbirths: Taking on stigma and taboo – A post about dealing with the underlying issue impacting on helping the bereaved and preventing stillbirths

#endstillbirths: Counting mixed blessings – A post on the value of free at the point of use healthcare system in preventing stillbirths.

#endstillbirths: Reasons to be (more) cheerful – A post of wonders and hope.

#endstillbirths: Saving Babies’ Lives – A post about rare treats of good news and those that seek to spike it with glass through malice and self-interest

#endstillbirths – The missing pieces – Lots of good work on #endstillbirths but there is a lot that hasn’t been addressed

#endstillbirths: Westminster Hall Debate – June 2016 – An overview of an amazing display of will and compassion.

Music

Songs and memories – An embedded YouTube playlist collecting the songs that are referenced in the blogs and titles.  Some covers, some originals and some live recordings for your listening pleasure.  Now with added context and commentary about why they were picked and what they mean to me.

Everyone knows how this song will end – The catharsis and comfort of music to soothe, rage and grieve by.

The weeks gone bye – A musical post – Bouncing through YouTube discovering new favourite bands and inspirations behind the music I love.

Everything Must Go – Manic Street Preachers and 20 Years of fandom – My trip to the Royal Albert Hall wrapped in a personal history of fandom.

A musical interlude: Six, Six (Oh) Six – Travels through time and (my)space and finding lost inspiration

Sharks, bears and ducks – A summer of music, games and reading

Rants and considered argument

Exploiting the very thing that cheapens me – a rant on the use of tragedies to win trinkets

Are click bait headlines over simplifying complex issues? Yes. – A more considered view of the complexities of social media as a tool for good or ill.

Paw Patrol – A ranty interlude – I reached saturation point and needed to vent.

Max and Ruby: A ranty interlude – Even worse than Paw Patrol

The illusion of action – A rant about petitions

The Civil War Within – A post on the past and its influence and denial

Empathy, empathy, they’ve all got it empathy – The value of empathy and why it isn’t a zero-sum game

In defence of childish things – The value of interests and being more than

(Not) The Stanford Prison Experiment – When a Monty Python sketch comes alive in the court room the results are not funny.

What the papers say – Misreporting and lazy journalism

Parenting

I don’t want my children to grow up like me – A post of being a reluctant role model and work in progress

Honesty, humour and horror – Brilliant Dad feature – A post about all the aspects of fatherhood

All of my demons, they are kept within – Personal demons and parenting

A tricky question: Values or friends?

Reviews

Butterflies and tornadoes: Life is Strange – Discussion of the game’s plot and inspiration for This door is locked

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